This spicy cilantro sauce, often called Zhoug or Skhug, is a delicious sauce to drizzle over chickpeas, serve with pita, or toss with rice. This zhoug sauce recipe is simple and delicious!

Zhoug Sauce

The first time I tried this delicious cilantro sauce was at CAVA. They call it Skhug and I didn’t know what was in it or how it was made but I knew it was delicious! When I saw a similar sauce at Trader Joe’s, called Zhoug, I couldn’t resist buying a few containers. It’s quickly become one of my favorite ways to spice up my vegetables, so I decided to try making my own version!

What is Zhoug Sauce?

Zhoug sauce is a condiment that originated in Yemen and is popular in a lot of Middle Eastern cuisine. It’s a spicy sauce made with cilantro, parsley, and spicy peppers. There are lots of different versions of this sauce and I certainly wouldn’t claim that this version is authentic. But it’s easy to make and quite delicious! I like it with falafel, pita, or roasted vegetables. It’s so good on crispy chickpeas! I’ve even used it as a pizza sauce.

Zhoug Ingredients

  • Cilantro– You do not need to remove all the stems, just remove the larger stems at the bottom.
  • Parsley– You can use flat leaf parsley or curly parsley.
  • Jalapeños– I recommend tasting the jalapeños to test how spicy they are. You may want to add more or less depending on the spiciness.
  • Garlic powder– I prefer garlic powder over fresh garlic, since this sauce isn’t cooked and raw garlic has a sharp flavor. Garlic powder is a little more mild.
  • Red pepper flakes– This adds additional spicy flavor.
  • Olive oil– This creates the base of the sauce making it easy to pour and drizzle. It also helps preserve the herbs so they last longer in the fridge.
cilantro sauce

How to Use Zhoug Sauce

This condiment is so versatile and there are plenty of ways to use it! I love drizzling it on top of my vegan falafel or using it as a dipping sauce for pita bread. I like adding a couple of tablespoons to my rice cooker when cooking a batch of rice and it infuses tons of flavor! You can also drizzle it over roasted chickpeas or roasted vegetables, for an easy way to spice up your meal! It’s also a great way to add even more flavor to crispy halloumi!

zhoug sauce

How to Store It

Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. I recommend dividing it up in an ice cube tray and freezing individual portions. That way, you can thaw a single serving when needed.

How to Make Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce

While testing this recipe, I considered making a copycat version of the Trader Joe’s sauce. It’s similar to this recipe with just a few adjustments. To make the TJ’s version, skip the parsley and add additional cilantro. You’ll also want to add a pinch of cumin.

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zhoug sauce

Zhoug Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: About 3/4 cup 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Yemen/American
  • Diet: Vegan


This spicy cilantro sauce, often called Zhoug or Skhug, is a delicious sauce to drizzle over chickpeas, serve with pita, or toss with rice. This zhoug sauce recipe is simple and delicious!


Units Scale
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup packed cilantro
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 2 jalapeños
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more to taste


  1. Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until just slightly chunky.
  2. Add salt to taste, if needed.

Keywords: zhoug sauce